October 3rd, 2011


Tweaking Tracy

When I HTMLed "Gold Regrets" (now on my website), I headed its webpage with a photo of Tracy. However, it is a heavily tweaked Tracy, one that is appropriate (I hope) for a story about her retirement. Police officers may usually retire a bit younger than the rest of us; but they're still in their sixties. Fortunately, blondes often keep some of their colouring for longer than brunettes do; and I'm sure Tracy would strive to maintain her fit figure. Still, I could hardly use any of screen captures directly.

So I picked out a suitable head'n'shoulders shot and went to work. The result is undoubtedly rough. However, it does serve its purpose (and the roughness is perhaps a bit less apparent, in as much as it's the only screen capture on the page). The original screen capture itself comes from the Knight Watchman site.

If you look at the following pictures, you can see what I did. The first one is the cropped screen capture, which comes from "Avenging Angel". The others are the two tweaked versions I did. Obviously, I blacked out the background. However, I also used Microsoft Picture Manager to tweak the colour. Tracy's skin has lost the bloom of youth and her hair is a bit silvered, as though it's well on the way to grey. (Blondes fade.) I then did a nasty bit of pixel by pixel work around the eyes and mouth using Microsoft Paint, roughening the colour and deepening lines—probably not as much as it really needed, but I wanted it to look natural.

My first tweak also slightly altered the colour of her dress and added more pearls. At that point, I was looking at "Gold Regrets" in terms of a farewell party. However, as I re-read the story, I realized that, if Tracy was getting a gold watch from the Chief of Police, this had to be an official party. So she'd be in uniform.

That entailed some time googling up pictures of Toronto police officers in uniform. I got the hat from one picture, and its badge from another! As for her uniform.... Well, I could cut'n'copy textures to cover the jacket, but the neckline was a real nuisance. Eventually I took one, used half of it to do one side of the tie and collar, reversed that for the other side of the tie, and shifted the collar up to the left, filling in the blanks. In other words, more nasty pixel-by-pixel stuff.

The result looks pretty crude, especially beside the original. I can only hope it works in context.

On my website..."The Flavour in his Mouth"

At this point, three of the four stories I wrote for the Dead Dog Party on fkcommentfic have been posted to FKFIC-L and put up on my website: "Gold Regrets", "A Cup of Coffee", and "The Flavour in his Mouth". Only "The Sun of Cairo" remains to go to FKFIC-L, though it is on the website. (I might have posted that this weekend, but instead wrote a ficlet in memory of last year's war.)
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On my website..."The Sun of Cairo"

Although it hasn't yet been sent to FKFIC-L, "The Sun of Cairo" is now up on my website. To make its webpage (which is here), I went with a sky blue gradient coupled with a frame dominated by a sand-textured graphic. (The connection with Egypt should be obvious.) The fact that the sword I used as decoration is actually a claymore off a website of Scottish graphics—well, I'm no weapons expert to care a lot about accuracy, and it works visually.
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